Barret, Stephen

, a classical teacher of considerable eminence, was born at Bent, in the parish of Kildwick in Craven, Yorkshire, in 1713, and was educated at the grammar school of Skipton, where he distinguished himself by his poetical compositions and classical knowledge. From thnt school he was removed to a scholarship in Universitycollege, Oxford, where he took his master’s degree, June l, 1714, and was admitted into holy orders. Soon after he quitted the university, he was nominated by the late sir V/yndham Knatchbull, hart, to the mastership of the free grammar school of Ashford in Kent, over which he presided during a very long period, and advanced the school to great reputation. He was also rector of the parishes of Pirton and Ickleford in Hertfordshire. In 1773 he was appointed, by the late earl of Thanet, to the rectory of Hothfield in Kent, where he rebuilt the parsonage house, to which he retired, and resigned the school of Ashford, to the endowment of which he was a liberal benefactor. He married Mary, the only daughter of Edward Jacob, esq. of Canterbury, and by her had an only daughter, Mary, the wife of Edward Jeremiah Curteis, esq. at whose house, at Northiam in Sussex, he died Nov. 26, 1801, in his eighty-third year.

Early in life Mr. Barret was an intimate friend of Dr. Johnson, and of Edward Cave, the founder of the Gentleman’s Magazine, to which he became a frequent contributor. One very interesting letter, signed by his name, appears in vol. XXIV. on a new method of modelling the tenses of verbs, which he defends on the authority of Varro and Dr. Clarke. This judicious scheme, and his elegant translation of Pope’s pastorals into Latin verse, fully established Mr. Barret’s reputation as a Latin scholar; and he also discovered some poetical talent in “War,” a satire, but was less fortunate in his translation of “Ovid’s Epistles into English verse.” This had critical essays and notes, and was said in the title (1759) to be “part of a poetical and oratorial lecture, read in Ashford school, calculated to initiate youth in the first rudiments of taste.1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXI.